Earlier this week, the relationship between “The Hilltop Monitor” and President of the Student Senate, Zak Carroll, deteriorated even further. Tuesday, during a routine Student Senate meeting, an exasperated Mr. Carroll lambasted the Monitor and declared it “fake news.” A junior senator present at the meeting described the feeling in the room as “tense.” The accusation comes just days after the Monitor’s private criticism of a recent Senate vote that established “Chicken Tender Thursdays” in the Dining Hall, became public.
In an attempt to clarify the allegations, the Monitor was able to interview Mr. Carroll directly. When asked to provide the basis for his claim, Mr. Carroll backtracked and made another allegation.
“I think that ‘The Hilltop Monitor’ doesn’t even say anything,” Mr. Carroll said. “Every time I look, it’s some sort of graphic design or picture and I think it’s degrading human beings to where they can’t even read words on a page.”
Despite this boisterous response, Mr. Carroll later admitted that he doesn’t read the Monitor. “I think it’s a waste of my time, if you want to say that.”
Additionally, during the course of the interview, Mr. Carroll also openly advocated for a new policy to place the Monitor under control of Student Senate. He cited the Monitor’s general unreliability as a news source and suggested that he could use his power as president to coerce the Monitor into surrendering its autonomy.
“I have a few pieces of blackmail on [Brett Stone- Editor in Chief of the Hilltop Monitor] and that’s all I can say.” Mr. Carroll said. “Maybe there’s some intimidation there.”
When pressed about how his constituents would react to the dissolution of the Monitor as an autonomous entity, Mr. Carroll appeared disinterested. He then went on to declare that there would be no reaction.
“If there were any grievances, however, it would be among the six people who actually get paid by the institution to write for it,” Carroll said.
In his analysis, Mr. Carroll questioned whether allowing for the existence of an autonomous student publication was a good use of funds and pointed to the luxurious lifestyle of one individual in particular. “I just don’t know if you can justify paying for Drew Novak’s lavish, Polo, lifestyle whenever there are people in Eaton that are just trying to take a shower and they can’t” he said.
Novak, who serves on the Monitor’s editorial staff as the Perspectives page editor and concurrently as a Student Senator, has become the subject of much controversy lately for his extravagant, daredevil lifestyle. One source in his inner circle called him “out of control.”
When informed that the Monitor would not go along with Mr. Carroll’s plans, Mr. Carroll seemed to suggest that if he could not absorb it, then he would attempt to sabotage it.
“I’ve heard of stories where, just mysteriously, the Jewell website or other websites that the Hilltop Monitor is based on could crash and entire archives from a year could crash and if that were to happen, who can say whose to blame?”
When told that the Monitor had identified suspicious Russian activity on their website and was under the assumption that his administration was implicated, Mr. Carroll did not appear to care. In fact, he chose not to deny the allegations and suggested that he and his administration had been colluding with the Russian government since at least the previous student body election.
“There was a surge of money that demonstrated itself in the form of cupcakes in the first-year resident halls whenever I was running.” he said. “I’m not going to say where the money came from but that’s what swung the election.”
Despite Mr. Carroll’s degrading comments and his threats towards the Monitor, were not taken lightly.
“If Mr. Carroll thinks that we are going to go gently into that good night, he has another thing coming. We’ll be seeing him in court,” Stone said.